Bitter Lemons of Cyprus

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Bitter Lemons of Cyprus

Bitter Lemons of Cyprus

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He views the increasingly violent campaign for Enosis from a different perspective, perhaps, than would most Americans today. His love for the Cypriot people is clear, but he firmly views them as a rural, somewhat childlike people who are far happier under British rule than they would be under union with an increasingly dynamic and urban Greek nation. Cypriot self-government apart from Greece does not even occur to him as an option. He perceives the Cypriot desire for Enosis as a vague goal the residents love to ponder and discuss, but one stirred into violent ferver only by agitation and arms from political zealots in Greece. He notes, in addition, the strong opposition to Enosis by the island's significant Turkish minority population -- a fault line between the ethnic Greeks and Turks that continues to this day. This is not a political book, but simply a somewhat impressionistic study of the moods and atmospheres of Cyprus during the troubled years 1953-56

The Bitter Lemons of Cyprus: mixing memory and desire

Although he claims to hate politics, he takes a job as an Information Minister with the British government of Cyprus. True, it appears to have been an inopportune time, with, according to Durrell, Athens radio whipping up the stupid peasants with ideas of independence. The timing of this is unfortunate though as this is just as there is growing civil unrest in Cyprus. Students are joining the rebellion and there are small acts of terror from grenades and homemade bombs. The British (as usual) misjudged the situation and made a bad situation much worse. Some of his knowledge of Greece doesn't seem without merit, such as the fact that Europeans somehow forget that modern Greece's greatest historical influence is probably the Byzantine era. Or his confirmation that a few "lunatics" in Crete or Rhodes could start a struggle for Greek independence almost anywhere.The British underestimated Cypriots because most of them knew Cypriots as lethargic subhuman beings, and Durrell has for chapter's 11 epigraph a very racist and vile paragraph taken from W. Hepworth Dixon's book British Cyprus

Bitter Lemons of Cyprus - Listening Books Bitter Lemons of Cyprus - Listening Books

Given the lyrical prose of the Alexandria Quartet, I was expecting Durrell's nonfiction -- especially about someplace as quintessentially Mediterranean as Cyprus -- to be something rapturous to accompany my recent habit of drinking homemade liqueurs of orange blossom, mastic, frankincense, and apricot on my patio. If you survive through the house renovations and teenage girls fawning over a scrubby git namely their English teacher (who by the way gives a spookily detailed account of their adoration), you are rewarded with the worse part the book or what I choose to name as `How We Rule Imperially`. At this point, I was doggedly making further allowances for Durrell, reminding myself that the book was written on the second half of the 20th century, that men were then permitted, hell, even expected to think and act like they knew everything about everything even or especially when they were clueless, that that was the way cookie crumbled then, that Durrell was trying his best to be fair and understanding in his own snobbish way; but I am not going to play it down, Bitter Lemons is one of the most frustrating, ignorant and equivalently arrogant piece of work written by a member of an occupying power about the place they had occupied I have ever had the misfortune of laying my eyes upon. And this is quite telling, because I am from Turkey and when it comes to fascism in text, being objected to horrible instances of it since I was quite young, I lamentably know my stuff. Gasp! Oh! Greeks were let to keep their own religion and freedom and language and even local government! How can that be? It must be only because Turks did not have a superior culture to enforce upon others. Seriously, Mr. Durrell? This is how you read the political situation at the Mediterranean or at any place? Turks didn't impose their culture, language and religion upon others forcibly –unlike British- just because they'd assumed what they had was not worthy of imposing? Your friends must find your firm faith in human modesty quite refreshing, I am sure. The nerve of the clueless imperialist who readily accepts the first explanation that comes to his mind, off the top of his head.) One of the first schools in Cyprus open in 1812 (under Ottoman rule) in the capital, Nicosia, the Pancyprian Gymnasium.Durrell was asked to take up a position as public information officer for the colonial administration which puts him in a position to see the problem from many perspectives. The terrorism (which the Greeks learned in the Balkans during WWII and which is remarkably like contemporary terrorism) that ensues is destructive and sad and almost impossible to stop.

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